Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Raymond Chandler purists were incensed by Robert Altman’s (The Player, Gosford Park) take on Philip Marlowe, which relocated the detective to modern Los Angeles. Altman flouted the rules of detective noir to serve up a brazen and idiosyncratic revision of the hardboiled gumshoe. Marlowe’s (Elliott Gould) post-war world-weariness has been overtakenby the cynicism of the age, leaving him adrift, almost a spent force.
“As Marlowe attempts to protect a friend suspected of battering his wife to death, and gets up to his neck in blackmail, suicide, betrayal and murder, Altman constructs not only a comment on the changes in values in America over the last three decades, but a critique of film noir mythology: references, both ironic and affectionate, to Chandler (cats and alcoholism) and to earlier private-eye thrillers abound. Shot in gloriously steely colours by Vilmos Zsigmond with a continually moving camera, wondrously scripted by Leigh Brackett (who worked on The Big Sleep), and superbly acted all round, it’s one of the finest movies of the 70s.” — Geoff Andrew, Time Out